My Trip to France: Paris!

 This is a series of blog posts chronicling my trip to France for ten days.
It is probably only of interest to my family and friends, or those who 
have interest in seeing a personal perspective on different areas in France.
 Part One: Paris
The time had arrived and we were actually on our way into the airport to 
fly to FRANCE!  I couldn't believe it was really going to happen! My husband 
and his cowboy hat were going with me, and it was something I had looked forward to
forever!  We had a night time flight and it takes about 6 hours from Boston to fly
directly to Paris.  We would arrive at 9 am and meet up with one of my 
Annie Sloan cohorts, Janet Metzger of the Empty Nest in Virginia. 
She was bringing her husband along and I was hoping it 
would be a good match up, or this would be a very long vacation! 
Our vacation involved taking part in the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint 
conference for the European stockists, and Janet and I were heading over
to be part of a small American contingency that was able to make the trip. 
 Colin dropped us at the curb at Logan International Airport 
and took this snapshot of us before we headed across the Atlantic.  
We had our newly purchased neck pillows
packed in Mr. Maison Decor's carry on bag to facilitate napping on the plane.
 And we were off! 
It was a perfect night to fly, and I was beyond excited!
 I have to say that flying for over 6 hours is not that much fun. 
Even with neck pillows.
Air France is probably the best option, as the food is 
very good and the wine is free!  
Dave did not exactly blend in with the locals as he waited at the baggage carousel. 
 We would head through customs, where they thoroughly
 examined his hat, and then met up with the Metzgers.
They flew via United Airlines, and their food was not so great,
 and they had to pay for their cocktails.
 This is one of the first photos I took as we drove to our Paris hotel.
I noticed how all the streets were cobblestones, and they reminded me of my
shop floors that I had painted to look like a French village street.
We had a driver from the hotel meet us in the airport and as he whisked us
through Paris in his speeding cab, I remembered that Mr. Maison Decor
gets motion sickness when anyone else drives.  I hoped he could withstand
the 30 minute drive from Charles De Gaulle airport to our hotel.
 The cabbie couldn't speak one word of English
 and was driving like a lunatic.  Fast stops and starts
with plenty of weaving in and out of traffic. 
 This was the best shot I could get of the Eiffel Tower!
He was driving so fast everything was just a blur.

(To watch the video click on the arrow. To make it full screen size
and easier to watch click on the four little corner arrows
 in the  lower right hand corner. ) 
 Since driver was driving so fast, and all my pics were blurry,
 I decided I would make a quick film of my first 
impressions of Paris so I could remember it all.  And just at about that time as I 
started to film, my husband started to get sick to his stomach! 
So that ended my filming as quickly as it started.
You can hear  me being excited about being in Paris, 
while I sat in the third row back seats with Janet Metzger. 
Mr. Maison Decor, sitting in the middle row behind the driver 
started to feel the effects and tried to communicate that to him,
 although he couldn't speak a word of English, so I 
had to interpret.  The driver did pull over and hubs was able to 
regain his composure so we could continue on to the hotel.
Its funny now...but it wasn't so funny then.  
 Soon we arrived at our cute little hotel in the area of Paris called St. Germain. 
 It was a tiny little hotel that was tucked on a side street, 
and it was utterly charming.  We all got out of the cab.
One sick husband who needed to get his feet back on the ground, 
and about 8 bags and two very happy Annie Sloan stockists 
had finally arrived at our first destination!  
 I quickly discovered that these quaint balconies with iron railings
 are everywhere on buildings
in Paris.  Many have french doors that open into the room, 
and none are screened.  There seem
to be no bugs over there! The only offensive thing that comes through 
the windows is generally
cigarette smoke on occasion, or street noise, 
depending upon how close you are to the main drags.
 Our room had pink and cream toile  lattice wallpaper
 with long silk curtains in pink and gold.  
A matelasse spread in ivory covered the bed. 
 It was charming and quaint and teeny tiny.
We dropped our bags and headed out to spend the day and evening
 in Paris as the next day we were picking up a rental car 
and heading to the northern coast of France.
Janet and I were happy as larks as we walked through the streets of Paris!
  It looked like a Disney version of how France should look. 
 There were cute little 
overhanging signs on wrought iron brackets, big lanterns,
 chandeliers in windows,
stone walkways and streets, shuttered windows and iron work 
was everywhere to be found!
 I wanted to take photos of everything I walked by! 
Everything was so charming and postcard perfect versions of Paris,
 like this cute florist shop that we passed on our way to dinner.
 Look at the lanterns hanging next to the pretty sign,
 and galvanized buckets holding flowers.  The iron
tables and planters held boxwood topairies and blooms of all kinds.
 We picked this little outdoor bistro to eat our first dinner in France. 
 You can see the cobblestone
street behind Janet and Bill. There were alleys everywhere 
with tiny shops and cafes tucked inside.
 I had a French version of Caprese salad, 
with a huge heirloom tomato with
 fresh mozzarella and a basil sauce.  Yummy! 
 And this would be the first bottle of many to come....
the French wine was delicious and as I would find out,
 it never gives you a headache!  I can get a headache from wine in 
the US because of the sulfites, and here there are no sulfites.  It was fantastic! 
 My first dinner in France.  Snapshot worthy. 
Hubby put a piece of his meat on my plate, lol,
as you can see on the left as he likes to share...
after dinner we strolled the streets and took lots of 
pics.  My husband was having a ball, fully recovered now
from his motion sickness.  He was loving Paris, and so was I.
We felt very safe, and the area we were in was very much so.
It had cute shops and boutiques~plenty of cafes and bistros.
If you plan to go to France, stay in the St. Germaine district and you
will not be disappointed.
 Someone is enjoying Paris!
 We were all giddy with the excitement of being in Paris!
 Many of the shops had mirrored facades
and so we stopped and tried to take a group selfie, 
but it was less than special. 
 But you can see the smiles on our faces. We were having a ball!
  I wanted to find a pastry shop and get something yummy
to eat to bring back to the hotel for later. 
 We stumbled upon this little place and the owner let
me take his photo as he wrapped up our selections for "take out".
 Every little place was so cute~old and charming and very French.  
 I had him wrap up a slice of lemon meringue and lime meringue
 and a piece of carmelized cheesecake. 
 Janet chose the Rhubarb crumble to take back.
 And with that late night desert purchase,
 we were on our way back to our hotel rooms.
Now this is living!!
 Eating French pastries in bed with your husband in Paris!  
Delicious! Our balcony doors were wide open and we would
sleep like logs that night.  Our adventure was underway!
 Since we only had the one night in Paris, Janet and I crammed 
in some speed shopping in
the St. Germaine district while the guys went to pick up our rental car. 
 We just adored how everything looked "so French"! 
It was almost like we were walking through a cliche of a 
movie version of what Paris should look like. 
 I guess that is why the movie sets look like this,
because Paris really does look like this everywhere! 
 Not just bits of pretty facades here and there,
it is literally one shop right after another, one more spectacular than the next. 
Here are a few shots I took as we walked and shopped. 
 We took a quick selfie in a mirrored sliver of a facade.
Most buildings were stone and many had wooden shutters 
and iron balconies with impressive wooden front doors, 
often painted in bright unexpected colors,
or in black like this one.  You could see that
 these were apartments above
as many had their plants outside on the tiny terraces.
Beautiful grand wooden doors, some unpainted, 
and most with ornate stone carved
surrounds were to be found on almost every block.
 Many tiny boutique hotels like this one dotted the streets of Paris.
 Amazingly beautiful eateries were decked out with antique chandeliers.
 Little shops like this one, which specialized in champagne
 had beautifully classic facades. 
 This cute Frenchman was outside for a cigarette break. 
He looked like he was playing a role in a French movie! 
This kind of scene was happening everywhere~people really do stroll
along the streets here carrying french baguettes! 
 This little corner shop offered upholstery services.
 At the corner of a busy street near our hotel, this was the scene.
 We had to hurry back to meet the guys who had secured the rental car. 
 Since we couldn't use our cell phones to text or call as the
roaming charges internationally would have sunk us,
 we relied on old fashioned methods like
"meet you back at the hotel at 1pm" 
and crossed our fingers that we would all meet up.
 Even the shopping bags in France were pretty! 
This pink and gold bag held a pocket bag tote bag
 I bought in the Allison Boutique. 
 It was fun and awesome to be walking the streets of Paris with a girlfriend, 
just popping into shops, or stopping at street side cafe
 for a quick glass of wine or a cafe.
The guys had the rental car and we all met up~and we were off!  
Leaving the city of lights behind us,
we headed north about 4 hours to the resort town of Dinard where
 we had a private chateau lined up
with a group of other Annie Sloan stockists. 
 This place was about to blow our minds! 
This part of the trip will be coming up next time on
 PART TWO of My Trip to France. 

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